I'm going to send FFVII plushies to: Kisdota-The Freak Gamer, punkiemonkie, StrifeVsTribal, Melody Elric, vx-Luna-xv, free the sky's Clouds, Dragon Reverb, and Kairi-loves-Sushi

A/N: I am so sorry for the long wait. I have been slacking off lately because I was running out of ideas, but strangely I had tons of ideas for my future story. I wanted to get started on it but I couldn't because I felt guilty for neglecting my current story, and I couldn't keep you fellow readers/writers waiting any longer.

This chapter contains some heated moments (I don't like to use the word "Fluff" that much. It's just not that type of word I'm used to using when it comes to romance.). I hope I didn't go overboard with the scenery, but I'm sure you'll like it. So, you have been warned. ;P

The Connection

Cloud and Tifa promptly got back on the Fenrir and left town. What could have been the possible news that Shera couldn't tell Cloud over the phone? Was Cid going to be okay? Or did his condition worsen? It was fractious for the swordsman to focus only on the positive side as the questions permeated his mind. He felt the grip of Tifa's arms getting tighter around his waist. He slightly looked over his shoulder to get a glance at her. All he could see was most of her locks flapping rapidly in the wind. He assumed that she only tighten her grip because the acceleration of the motorcycle increased after he got onto the freeway, not because she was afraid of the possible devastating news regarding Cid.

Once they arrived at the hospital in Edge, they hurried inside, entering the front entrance, which led to the waiting room. They both weren't able to spot Shera right way. There were people who came to visit their loved ones, and others were waiting to see their doctors. Tifa noticed someone's hand was in the air. She nearly stood on her tip-toes to see who the person was sitting in the back.

"Cloud, I think that's Shera over there," she said.

Cloud, who was slightly taller than Tifa, was able to see Shera. They both walked over to where she was sitting. She glanced up from the magazine she was reading, and she placed it on the small table and stood up.

"Cloud. Tifa. I'm so glad you're here."

"Is everything alright?" Tifa asked.

"I'm glad you asked," said Shera with a smile. "Cid had just woken up from the coma!"

"Really? That's great!" the brunette said excitedly.

"Was he able to say anything?" Cloud later asked. He finally felt the weight being lifted off his shoulders.

"I don't think so, but he moved his head just a bit. The doctors are taking a look at him right now, and they're going to run a few tests. Dr. Krun said he was going to let me know whether or not I'll be able to see Cid."

They all sat down and waited for the doctor to show up. Nearly thirty minutes had passed by. Shera decided to read more of the magazines, while Cloud watched TV. The news was on, so he figured that there could be some information regarding the explosion incident at the construction site. So far, there was no word on it. Tifa rested her head on his shoulder, twisting the wolf-head ring around her finger. He gently nudged her head with his shoulder to get her attention. "You okay?" he asked when she looked up at him.

"Mm-hmm," Tifa replied, smiling gently. "It's kind of cold in here."

The blonde wished he had a jacket to give to her if he knew it was going to be cool in the hospital. He was somewhat cold himself, but he was pretty much used to it, all thanks to those long, snowy days he spent with Tifa when they grew up. Three minutes later, a middle-aged, male doctor approached all three of them. Tifa took a glance at his name tag that was pinned to his white coat, which said, Dr.E. Krun, M.D.

"Mrs. Highwind?" he said.

"Yes?" Shera quickly stood up.

"I have some good news. Your husband is showing some signs of improvement. His speech is a little unclear at times, but he is responsive."

"Well, that's good to hear," Mrs. Highwind sighed with relief. "Is it okay for us to see him?"

"Sure," Dr. Krun nodded. "Mr. Highwind is in C203, on the third floor. I'll meet you there with the test results later."

Shera thanked him and he headed off to the front desk. Cloud and Tifa followed her to the elevator. They all went up to the third floor and walked down the long and quiet hallway. Mrs. Highwind stopped at the fifth door over to the right. It was opened all the way, so she walked into the room, approaching the sleeping Cid.

"Cid?" she gently tapped him on the shoulder. "Are you okay?" The pilot slowly opened up his eyes and saw his wife. "Tifa and Cloud are here."

Cid moved his head on the pillow and saw the bartender, who had a faint smile. She never liked to see anyone in the hospital, nor did Cloud, but they were at least grateful to see him finally awake from being in a coma for approximately two weeks.

"You remember them, don't you, Cid?" asked Shera, placing her hand on his forehead.

"Cloud and Tifa?" he later said, his voice was a little slurred, but understandable. "I definitely remember Cloud 'cause he looks like a goddamn Chocobo with his hair like that."

Shera gasped and playfully hit him on the shoulder with the back of her hand. Tifa did all she could to hold her laugh. Cloud, however, felt the corners of his mouth being tugged, forcing a grin. It was a bit irritating for him to hear people call him a Chocobo, but this time, he didn't care. The only thing that was important to him was that Cid was okay.

"How are you feeling, Cid?" Tifa asked later.

"Terrible," the pilot grouched. "My head feels like a Bahamut tap-dancin' on it, and my goddamn leg is ichin' in this cast."

Tifa frowned as she looked at Cloud, who asked, "Can you remember what happened on the day of the explosion?"

"It's hard to remember anything with this headache botherin' me," Cid told him.

"Just try to get some rest, okay?" Shera said.

Dr. Krun later showed up at the door with a clipboard in his hand. He softly knocked on the door before entering. "Is everything alright in here?" he asked.

"Everything's fine," Shera replied.

"Good," the doctor walked into the room. "I have the results from the test. I asked Mr. Highwind some simple questions, and I must say that I am amazed by the improvements that he has made. We were all afraid that his condition was going to get worse, but thankfully, he has proven us wrong."

"So when will I be able to go?" Cid asked.

The doctor chuckled quietly and said, "As of right now, we want to keep you for at least two more weeks, just to keep a close eye on your condition. Any more questions?" Cid only shook his head. Dr. Krun smiled politely and walked out.

"Two more weeks?" he later looked at Shera. "What the hell am I suppose to do till then?"

"The doctors are doing the best they can to help you," Shera told him. "The only thing you can do is rest." The pilot grunted, but he knew she was right. Shera looked at Cloud and Tifa. "Thank you so much for being here. I hope I didn't cause any trouble when I called."

And then, he remembered. Cloud remembered he and Tifa were so close to having their first kiss. But was he prepared for it? He didn't know. He had never been close to a woman before, and if Shera had never called him, what kind of kiss would the brunette had given him? He wasn't certain how he would react if she had had the chance to kiss him. Cloud wasn't even sure if he was a good kisser at all!

"Oh…," his cheeks turned crimson at the thought. He could feel Tifa's eyes were on him. He slowly turned his head and indeed she was looking right at him. Her angelic smile caused the sensation to erupt in the pit of his stomach. He turned back over to Shera and said, "You didn't cause any trouble."

Tifa nodded in agreement. "We're just happy to know that Cid is going to be okay," she added.

"Don't worry about me," Cid said. "I'll be back up on my feet before you know it."

The young adults arrived back from the hospital that evening. Their hair and clothes were damp from being out in the rain. Tifa took her shoes off and left them in the laundry room so they could get dry. "I'm going to go and change clothes," she told Cloud.

He nodded and decided to change clothes as well. Afterwards, he went back downstairs and looked out the window. The rain was beginning to pour down even harder. He heard a rumble of thunder in the distance, followed by the sound of feet padding softly down the stairs. Cloud turned around and his eyes widen at the sight of Tifa in a white sports bra with a black pair of sweatpants. Something told him she was getting ready to do some working out. She had kept a punching bag hanging up on a pole in the corner of the laundry room. There was enough room for her to practice on all of her special moves.

Tifa realized that Cloud had been staring at her for awhile, but she just simply smiled at him as she pulled her leather gloves out of her pocket and slipped them on. "If you like, you can watch me practice on my moves," she told him kindly.

Cloud nodded and followed her. He stood in the doorway and leaned against the left side of it, folding his arms. Tifa stood on the balls of her feet, as she started punching the bag with such force. One of the last few punches she made caused the bag to come directly at her. She instantly dodged it and caught it with both of her hands. She brushed her long bangs out of the way and continued. A small grin began to form on Cloud's face as he watched the martial artist. Knowing that she knew how to defend herself, made him feel really good.

Tifa finally stopped to take a break. She looked up and saw Cloud. "Hi." She slowly took deep breaths.

"You're very good," he said, approaching Tifa.

"Thanks. Seems like I'm just as good as you."

"I doubt that," Cloud joked.

Tifa tilted her head slightly to the side. "Really? Then prove it."

Cloud didn't believe she was serious. He never wanted to underestimate her fighting abilities. But that look in those deep brown eyes told him that she was up for the challenge. "Tifa, I was only joking," he tried to explain.

"I know," Tifa said with a short laugh. "But I always wonder what it would be like to go against the Cloud Strife."

The swordsman didn't say anything. Fighting against Tifa was the very last thing he ever wanted to do. Even if it wasn't a serious fight, he refrained. He was afraid of hurting her, but despite her size, the bartender could take on anyone or anything within a second.

"Cloud?" Some concern started to develop in her voice after she noticed the hesitant expression on Cloud's face. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah," he responded slowly. "Are you sure you want to do this? Because I don't want to hurt you."

"Cloud, I know you wouldn't hurt me on purpose. Besides, this is just practice. So, relax and have fun with it."

Still, he hesitated. He sort of wished she would change her mind about this whole thing. But then again, she was right. Tifa only wanted to have fun and she wanted him to do the same. "Well," Cloud started to say. "Are we going to fight in here?"

Tifa looked around. "Maybe we should do it in the living room. We'll have more room there."

They went to the living room and they moved the coffee table over to the side, along with the couch. Tifa had her hands on her hips as she took one last look to see if she needed to move any more stuff out of the way. She went to her room to get the mat from under her bed. She came back and laid it out on the floor.

"Okay," she stood up. "You're ready?"

Cloud swallowed hard, running his fingers through his hair. "I…I think so." He had no idea what he was getting himself into.

They both stepped onto the mat. Tifa balled her hands into fists and holding them up in front of her, spreading her feet apart. Cloud stood back about four inches from her, with his hands still at his sides. He took a deep breath and slowly raised his hands up, tightly closed into fists.

Relax…He told himself. He closed his eyes, but then he heard footsteps approaching. As soon as he opened his eyes, Tifa was coming directly at him. He later found himself grabbing her wrist, his eyes made contact with hers, and he could see that she wasn't afraid. She then swept his legs from underneath him, causing him to lose balance and his hold of her. He fell onto his back. He looked at her as if she had done something wrong.

"You're okay?" She tried not to grin after she saw his expression.

"Yeah," Cloud said.

Tifa reached her hand out towards him and pulled him back up. They both got back into the same position as they did before. "We're going to try the same moves again," she told him. Cloud nodded briefly, not taking his focus off of her. She came at him again, he quickly dodged her fist. He turned around and before Tifa could do the same, he grabbed both of her arms, pulled them back towards him, and pinned her down against the mat.

"Ah…," Tifa groaned.

"Are you okay?" Cloud started to panic. He immediately let go of her. She slowly turned around, propped herself up on her elbows. Cloud's eyes frantically searched hers, waiting for a response.

"I-I think…" the brunette winced. "I think my arm is—"

"Tifa, I'm sorry," the swordsman interrupted, feeling completely guilty. "Let me see your—"

Before he could finish, Tifa unexpectedly pounced on him, grabbing both of his wrists and pinning them above his head. She had both of her legs on either side of him so he couldn't escape.

"Gotcha," Tifa giggled as she studied Cloud's face. He was shocked, but yet, he was very impressed by her trick.

"You cheated," he said, grinning.

"I did not."

They started laughing, but Cloud stopped shortly after he realized how close they were. Tifa later realized that, too. The grip on Cloud's wrists lessen. She felt like she had just made a big mistake by pouncing on top of him, and she couldn't tell what he was thinking. He remained still, but Tifa quickly got off of him and stood back. She was completely embarrassed, and she was pretty sure that he was too. She headed towards the window, her arms folded over her chest. "I am so sorry. I shouldn't have done that."

Cloud pushed himself up and made his way to her. He did not know whether to touch her or just stay where he was. "Tifa?" he spoke softly. "You didn't do anything wrong."

The bartender unfolded her arms and turned around. Cloud stepped a little closer to her. One arm moved up, his hand reaching out to touch her soft hair. His fingers tunneled through it. Tifa found herself lost in his blue eyes. Next thing you know, her eyes were stuck on his lips. She had had her chance to kiss them, but it was cut short, due to Shera's unexpecting phone call. It was a little disappointing, but it was worth it because knowing that one of her friends was going to be okay was what matter the most. And plus, she knew that she would always get a second chance at locking lips with Cloud. But the question was: Could this be it?

Cloud slid his hand down to Tifa's left cheek. He gently placed his thumb on her lips and felt how smooth and tender they were. Tifa raised her left hand up and placed it on top of his, giving it a gentle squeeze. Cloud's heart was now filled with love that was growing so strong, and so was the passion. He couldn't think straight; his love for Tifa was taking over his entire body. He moved his thumb away from her mouth and slid his hand behind the nape of her neck. His other arm was wrapped around her waist, pulling her closer to him. Tifa's heart began to beat rapidly when her breasts were pressed against his broad chest. She couldn't believe that he was so calm and relaxed, but simultaneously, she was glad that he was finally stepping up.

She wrapped her arms around Cloud's neck, and both of his arms were now around her waist. Slowly but surely, their faces were getting closer and closer. Close enough for their lips to touch. The swordsman closed his eyes and then, he felt something warm and soft pressing against his mouth. Tifa's mouth was on his. She later parted her lips, putting passion into the kiss. Cloud couldn't keep himself from wondering if he was a good kisser or not. He mentally forced himself to get rid of those thoughts and he began to move his mouth right along with Tifa's. Taking his precious time to feel and taste the texture of her lips. He couldn't control his own body as his hands started to roam around, feeling the bartender's skin beneath his palms. His hands stopped when they were on her bare back. Tifa, on the other hand, clutched onto his shirt and the passion got deeper, making her knees weak as she continued to feel Cloud's lips taking over hers.

She couldn't breathe nor could she think. She was trapped in a fantasy she had longed for since the day she and the ex-Soldier became friends. A small moan was stuck in the middle of her throat. She had to stop but another side of her wanted to keep going. She felt as though this could be her only chance to live in a moment like this. "Dammit, Cloud." She thought. "Why must you tease me like this?" She moved her hands onto his chest, trying to break the kiss. Just as soon as her hands touched his chest, Cloud opened his eyes and he slowly departed his lips from Tifa's. Both of them had to catch their breath after that intensifying moment. They stared at each other for awhile, listening to the rain pounding on the roof.

"Wow," Tifa said, her voice barely above a whisper. "I-I don't know what to say…"

"Sorry," Cloud said. "I couldn't control myself…."

"No," Tifa laughed. "It's not that. It's just I never thought you had it in you."

"I guess I do have it in me. Maybe it's because I lo—"

There was a huge rumble of thunder, catching the couple off guard. The bartender shrieked, burying her face in the crook of Cloud's neck. "I hate thunder." He heard her say. A small grin formed on his lips. He rested his chin on the crown of Tifa's head and embraced her tightly.

To Be Continued....

A/N:I hope I did okay with the kissing scene. I kind of got carried away with it. The name "Dr. E. Krun" was something I made up. Sadly, I didn't know what his first name should have been, so I just said forget it. He's only going to appear in the story once, anyway. I was trying to think of a name that sort of sounds like it could be part of Final Fantasy. I couldn't think of a better name for Cid's doctor. I hope I kept Cid in character and Shera as well. I know he swears a lot. ;P